BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Felix Milgrom, M.D., of Snyder, internationally
known immunologist and SUNY Distinguished Professor Emeritus in the
Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University at
Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, died Sept. 2 in
Buffalo General Hospital after a short illness. He was 87.
A native of Rohatyn, Poland, Milgrom received a medical degree
in 1946 and a Docent degree in 1951, both from the School of
Medicine at the University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland.
He was a faculty member at the University of Wroclaw medical
school and served as professor and chair of the Department of
Microbiology at the Silesian University School of Medicine in
Zabrze, Poland. He left Poland to join the faculty of the
Department of Microbiology at the UB School of Medicine and
Biomedical Sciences in 1958.
He served as chair of the department -- now known as the
Department of Microbiology and Immunology -- from 1967-85, and with
his predecessor as chair, noted immunologist Ernest Witebsky, and
other departmental colleagues founded the Center for Immunology.
The center, now known as the Witebsky Center for Microbial
Pathogenesis and Immunology, is internationally known for its
research in infectious diseases and host defenses against them.
Milgrom, who was named a SUNY Distinguished Professor in 1981,
was known for his pioneering research in basic and medical
immunology in the fields of human organ transplantation and
Among his scientific contributions was the development of a
simple test for syphilis that could be performed on a drop of dried
blood. The method was used to test more than 2 million people
during an outbreak of syphilis in Eastern Europe after World War
II. He also was the first to show that certain forms of kidney
graft rejection are caused by antibodies in the recipient's
circulation that are directed against the grafted tissue.
Milgrom authored or co-authored more than 400 scientific
publications, and mentored nearly 100 graduate students and
He received honorary doctorates from the University of Vienna in
Austria; the University of Lund in Sweden; the University of
Heidelberg in Germany; the University of Bergen in Norway; and the
University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
Among his numerous awards was the Cross of Merit, one of the
highest awards presented by the Republic of Poland; the Gift of
Life Award from the National Kidney Foundation of Western New York;
the Alfred Jurzykowski Foundation Award; and the Paul Ehrlich and
Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize. The Transplantation Society honored him
with a festschrift at its fifth Basic Sciences Symposium held in
1997 at the Chautauqua Institution.
Although Milgrom retired in 1995, colleagues report that he came
to campus almost daily to work on his research and writing. He was
last in the office on Aug. 30.
He is survived by his wife, Halina Milgrom, M.D., of Snyder; two
sons, Henry Milgrom, M.D., of Denver, Colo., and Martin Milgrom,
M.D., of Indianapolis; and 5 grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at UB in October.